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Cindysphinx
11-11-2010, 10:36 AM
I attended a clinic today, my third clinic with this group of 3.5/4.0 players. I've done a lot of clinics over the years, but today took the cake for strangeness.

We were doing a drill where the pro was serving from the ad court, and I was his partner at net. Two other players were in normal doubles formation. A rally ensued between the pro and the deep crosscourt player. The pro lobbed the net player directly in front of him. This was a good lob. The net player can't reach it and calls a switch, and the deep player runs over to track down this ball, which bounces.

Everything sounds normal so far, right? OK.

My understanding about what should happen on our side of the net is this: I should shift over toward the center line and take a position at about the service line. If I see my opponent will have time to line up a drive, I might close a tad toward the net. If I see my opponent about to lob, I will stay at about the service line. Meanwhile, my partner who struck the lob should most definitely come to the service line, closer if it appears a drive is coming.

Instead, the pro stayed back. He said to me after the point that I had missed an opportunity for a planned switch. He said that I should have taken off and crossed to the ad court, and he would switch behind me. This switch should happen *before* the opponent strikes the ball.

I, totally confused, explained that I thought the deep person should simply follow their lob to the service line (or closer, for staggered formation). He said no, the deep person might not be able to get there in time, especially if she was deep in the court when she hit the lob.

My question: Is there any advantage in doing it the way the pro suggests?

I have to say, this explains a lot. When we have played games at the tail end of these clinics, I was constantly baffled that my partners were taking off to switch before balls were struck and were running across the court as the opponents were hitting. I never knew when my partners would do this, and I received no verbal command to switch.

I mean, I'm all for poaching, don't get me wrong. I think it's dandy if the net player sees a floater in the opposite alley and crosses to get it.

Taking off before the ball is struck seems bizarre to me. The lob bounced in the deuce corner, so the crossing player must get all the way over toward the alley to cover the line. Meanwhile, the deep player must cross and move forward and so has more distance to cover. (Or if the deep player stays at the baseline, the deep player is not being aggressive enough.) Not to mention that this planned switch has both players running sideways while the opponents are hitting, which is generally a poor idea.

I don't get it.

LuckyR
11-11-2010, 11:35 AM
Excellent question. I agree with the Pro that 1 up/1 back after a switch ie the 2 netmen across the net from one another is an excellent time for a poach. This is because the baseline player (on either side) has a poor view of the opposing netman (you) because his netman at least partially blocks his view of that player.

I disagree that the opposing baseline player (the Pro) should automatically switch behind you (anticipating the poach) since you had not spoken about it before and he could be helpful if the opposing baseline player hit the ball into the alley, which he very well might, since that would be a safe and easy shot to hit and even if you left just as the ball was struck, you could very easily not be able to hit such a shot.

cneblett
11-11-2010, 12:43 PM
Moving there a heavy percentage of the time can be a great move. A reason to move early is to flash in front of them and make them think they have to hit a better shot. If you have it planned ahead of time, or if the partner at the baseline is watching they move if you do, and you should. If they come in, crossing in behind you will get them an easy putaway a lot of the time as well. Since they will be coming in and probably get a high shot with the net person watching you.

Cindysphinx
11-11-2010, 12:57 PM
Excellent question. I agree with the Pro that 1 up/1 back after a switch ie the 2 netmen across the net from one another is an excellent time for a poach. This is because the baseline player (on either side) has a poor view of the opposing netman (you) because his netman at least partially blocks his view of that player.

I disagree that the opposing baseline player (the Pro) should automatically switch behind you (anticipating the poach) since you had not spoken about it before and he could be helpful if the opposing baseline player hit the ball into the alley, which he very well might, since that would be a safe and easy shot to hit and even if you left just as the ball was struck, you could very easily not be able to hit such a shot.

I still don't get it.

How is unplanned switching better than having both players simply come to net and get ready to hit an overhead or volley?

And if the Pro stays back, then we are in a 1-up, 1-back. When I am running down a lob, the one thing I don't want to see is two people at the service line. If I see one person at the baseline, that player is going to receive my lob so I can get back in the point.

kylebarendrick
11-11-2010, 01:17 PM
I think the switch is a good play (if both players are on the same page), but the net player (you) should close towards the net and the lobber (your partner) should move into the service line. This would allow you to be aggressive with a volley or overhead while leaving your partner in a position to close on a groundstroke or cover a lob from your opponents.

I like seeing two players at the service line when I cover a lob - it means I can hit a hard ball up the middle and hopefully draw an error.

burosky
11-11-2010, 01:18 PM
If the pro was deep behind the baseline to the point where following the lob would make him end up in the no man's land by the time your opponent hits the ball and has time to drive it, I can see how what he said would make sense. It would be quite difficult to hit a cross court drive off a lob unless the player had time to set up for the shot. The pro should have clarified when the unplanned switch would be the right thing to do.

This is the problem with a "cookie cutter" approach to teaching. Tennis is a very dynamic sport. Given the same situation, vary the conditions slightly and the appropriate strategy, tactic or shot selection can be totally different from the one that worked previously.

Nellie
11-11-2010, 01:54 PM
I agree that it seems weird - your team is one up/ one back with you being up on the ad side. The other team, after the switch is one up/one back with the netman on the deuce side. Your pro wants you to switch to mimic the opposing team.

My response is:

1) your positioning (Cindi at the net in the middle of the court) is forcing the back opponent to hit either down the line or lob cross court. the down the line shot is low percentage and your partner should cover be able to cover the cross court lob, unless it is perfect. It seems to me, the only reason for the planned switch would be to cover that lob.

2) your position (at the service tee) puts you in the most likely position to poach any weak shots - the only shot the opponent can get past you as a really hard dipping, extreme short cross court shot. If you do the planned switch according the pro, any crosscourt shot will be tough for you to hit (you going left, shot going right)

Cindysphinx
11-11-2010, 02:13 PM
Another objection I have is that it is not really possible for the players to be "on the same page" with this switching idea.

When the net player takes off for this switch, she doesn't say anything. She could, but she doesn't. Nope, it's radio silence, and then for me it's "Hey, whoa. Where is my partner going? Oh, I guess she has decided she is going to switch. I need to reverse course and instead of coming in like I always do, I need to back up to the baseline on the side she's not occupying anymore."

It has a real Keystone Cops look to it. The side she vacated is vacant until I recognize she is going to switch and get over there. It can easily be late enough that I wind up bouncing a lob that one of us could have smashed if we had both been at the service line, calmly waiting to do some damage.

OrangePower
11-11-2010, 05:03 PM
It's not that complicated.

From the perspective of the team that hit the lob, at the minimum you want to have a person at the net directly opposite the opponent running back for the lob.

How you achieve this objective depends on the positioning of the player who hit the lob.

If this player is in a position where they can come in (often the case if they hit an offensive lob), then that player should come in, and the existing net player stays.

If the lobber is not in a position where they can come in (often the case if they hit a defensive lob on the stretch), then the existing net player should switch, and the lobber will need to do same to cover.

The right answer depends on the situation and specifically on the lobbers ability to follow the lob to the net. The net player needs to have a feel for whether the lobber is coming in or not, and react accordingly. The lobber knows that he/she either needs to come in, or else expect that the net player will switch.

LuckyR
11-11-2010, 05:31 PM
I still don't get it.

How is unplanned switching better than having both players simply come to net and get ready to hit an overhead or volley?

And if the Pro stays back, then we are in a 1-up, 1-back. When I am running down a lob, the one thing I don't want to see is two people at the service line. If I see one person at the baseline, that player is going to receive my lob so I can get back in the point.

Again, I don't advocate "switching", I recommend aggressive poaching off of a standard drive. The opposing baseline player is likely to hit a standard drive if they assume that their shot will be returned by your partner (the Pro) at the baseline. If the baseline player approaches off of a lob taken by the opposing baseline player, they had better be certain that the return will be of average to poor quality. I would be a little reluctant against my competition to do so, since a topspinny insideout FH may be in my alley.

I agree with you that your opponent will aim at the opposite side of the court from you, that's why it should be an easy poach, and also why your partner doesn't need to "switch" behind you.

Cindysphinx
11-11-2010, 05:47 PM
Again, I don't advocate "switching", I recommend aggressive poaching off of a standard drive.

To make sure I am following you, you are suggesting that it is OK for the deep player to stay back if she hits a lob that goes over the net player, resulting in a bounced ball and causing a switch?[/quote]

The opposing baseline player is likely to hit a standard drive if they assume that their shot will be returned by your partner (the Pro) at the baseline.

Yes, absolutely. If I run down a lob and get there with time to set up and I see the lobber still hanging around the baseline, I'm sending the ball right back to them.

If the baseline player approaches off of a lob taken by the opposing baseline player, they had better be certain that the return will be of average to poor quality. I would be a little reluctant against my competition to do so, since a topspinny insideout FH may be in my alley.

I guess it comes down to whether you think your opponents will be playing an offensive ball off of that bounced lob, or whether they will be playing a defensive ball. I think it is a fair assumption that an offensive lob that is good enough not to be smashed is going to generate a defensive reply. If not, then why lob in the first place?

I say that in part because my favorite way to get to the net (where I can hide!) in 8.0 mixed is by lobbing the BH of the net player in the deuce court and then sprinting to the net.

I agree with you that your opponent will aim at the opposite side of the court from you, that's why it should be an easy poach, and also why your partner doesn't need to "switch" behind you.

I'm not sure I am understanding this.

I think the player who is playing the bounced ball will either (1) drive it hard if they can (the target being whichever player is deep) or (2) will lob the net player in her original position.

If the player drives it hard, it won't be an easy poach, and they can easily take it crosscourt regardless of whether the net player does this planned switch.

If the net player lobs, she will lob the net player crosscourt and will not lob it back to the deep player. If the lobbing team does this planned switch, they had better have the Pro hustle over and cover the crosscourt or the point is lost. Right?

As I think on it more, I guess the sole alleged advantage of this planned switch is that it allows the lobbing team to get into a staggered formation more easily. The partner who is switching can get close to the net, and the Pro only has to get to the service line on the other side of the court. Correct?

I am still not persuaded that all this scrambling achieves anything, though. If the opponents play an offensive drive, they can take it crosscourt (and may be planning to hit that shot switch or no switch) and the Pro will be challenged trying to catch up to it. If the opponents play a defensive lob/shot, you really don't want either player hugging the net -- there is time to close the net for a put-away if it is a weak drive, and it is easier to reach a lob.

Cindysphinx
11-11-2010, 05:50 PM
If the lobber is not in a position where they can come in (often the case if they hit a defensive lob on the stretch), then the existing net player should switch, and the lobber will need to do same to cover.


I will be the first to admit that I am no Olympic caliber sprinter. Even I, in my current state of decline, can run from the baseline to the service line in the amount of time it takes a lob to leave my racket, bounce, and be struck by an opponent.

If I am so slow or off balance that I cannot manage that journey, how will I ever make the distance if we also require me to angle over to the other side of the court?

duketennisgal
11-11-2010, 06:21 PM
I've had very good success with moving to the center of the court, halfway between the service line and the net when my partner hits a good deep lob. Usually if a person hits a good deep lob the only response is to hit another lob. If you move to the center of the court you can be in position to put the overhead away (as long as you have good footwork).

My partner normally stays back in this situation. If the opponent is able to lob over my head my partner should have plenty of time to track the ball down, no matter where it's at on the court.

Cindysphinx
11-11-2010, 07:49 PM
^Not unreasonable. Surely better than doing this planned switch where, instead of essentially standing on the center T, you actually cross all the way over while closer to the net.

My quibble, duketennisgal, is that I think the reply lob is better covered with two at the service line than one. If you have two players standing at the service line, they can reach any lob by taking two steps backward and raising their rackets. A lob would have to be inch perfect to make it past both of them. And since both are on the service line, both know that no one is backing them up, so they will make every effort to reach that ball.

In my universe (3.5 land), having one player stay back causes some problems. The player who is up knows someone is backing her up and is more likely to bail out on a makeable smash. More importantly, the player standing on the T might see a lob going over her BH. This increases the chance that she will botch the overhead or hit it more defensively. If you have two at at the service line, 80% or more of the court can easily be covered by one of the player's FHs.

mtommer
11-12-2010, 12:02 AM
Another objection I have is that it is not really possible for the players to be "on the same page" with this switching idea.


Sometimes the right thing to do is based upon a team who has worked with each other and so they DO know exactly how the other is going to respond given any situation. However, when a team doesn't have the luxury of knowing each other real well, the right thing can be the wrong thing.

spaceman_spiff
11-12-2010, 04:23 AM
[QUOTE=Cindysphinx;5178981In my universe (3.5 land), having one player stay back causes some problems. The player who is up knows someone is backing her up and is more likely to bail out on a makeable smash. More importantly, the player standing on the T might see a lob going over her BH. This increases the chance that she will botch the overhead or hit it more defensively. If you have two at at the service line, 80% or more of the court can easily be covered by one of the player's FHs.[/QUOTE]

It might be possible that your pro is teaching you the strategy for a different universe (high 4.0 and up).

In that universe, a centrally located player at the net can track down any short lob well enough to put it away. But more importantly, even if the opponent doesn't have to lob, an aggressive move to the middle by the net player can often result in a poach on any weaker shots. So in that universe, it makes sense to have one up in the middle near the net, even if the opponent doesn't have to throw up a defensive lob.

However, in that universe, the threat of a very good, deep lob is a real possibility. For this reason, teams often choose to have one player stay back somewhat near the baseline. If the opponent does manage a good lob, the back player can easily set up to attack it with a strong groundstroke or even an overhead after the bounce, rather than having to track backwards and hit a defensive shot while running away from the net.

So, after a good lob or even a crosscourt volley from the net player, you often see one up and one back with the net player rather moving aggressively towards the center. Also, when both are already at net, you often see one go all the way in to attack and one float back a bit to cover the lob. It all comes down to which player is already moving forward, position of the ball, etc.

Then, if the opponent surprizingly manages to get into a position where he/she can hit a strong shot, the front player will pick which side he/she wants to cover, with the partner automatically switching to the other side. By that time, the back player should see it coming and be in a position to easily switch to either side, so it shouldn't cause any problems.

It's hard to explain, but when you play several matches with a really aggressive partner, you start to pick up the positional changes instinctively.

larry10s
11-12-2010, 04:54 AM
sorry i didnt read the whole thread but as a poach its described as "The switch trick play"in operation doubles.
as a planned early move it takes the poach away because the back player will (or should) not be hitting to the net player on purpose
http://web.archive.org/web/20071023035316/www.operationdoubles.com/switch_trick_play.htm

Cindysphinx
11-12-2010, 05:17 AM
^OK, I see the problem in how my pro was teaching this. The net player was leaving way too early.

In the diagrams in Operation Doubles, the net player is simply positioning on the T like DukeTennisGal says and then doing a garden variety surprise poach. The Pro hasn't moved because it's a surprise poach.

As I understand it, the Pro yesterday was teaching a switch, not a poach. Meaning the net player takes off as soon as the lob bounces on the other side. There is no attempt to time the movement to coordinate with what the opponent is doing.

LuckyR
11-12-2010, 09:15 AM
To make sure I am following you, you are suggesting that it is OK for the deep player to stay back if she hits a lob that goes over the net player, resulting in a bounced ball and causing a switch?



Yes, absolutely. If I run down a lob and get there with time to set up and I see the lobber still hanging around the baseline, I'm sending the ball right back to them.



I guess it comes down to whether you think your opponents will be playing an offensive ball off of that bounced lob, or whether they will be playing a defensive ball. I think it is a fair assumption that an offensive lob that is good enough not to be smashed is going to generate a defensive reply. If not, then why lob in the first place?

I say that in part because my favorite way to get to the net (where I can hide!) in 8.0 mixed is by lobbing the BH of the net player in the deuce court and then sprinting to the net.



I'm not sure I am understanding this.

I think the player who is playing the bounced ball will either (1) drive it hard if they can (the target being whichever player is deep) or (2) will lob the net player in her original position.

If the player drives it hard, it won't be an easy poach, and they can easily take it crosscourt regardless of whether the net player does this planned switch.

If the net player lobs, she will lob the net player crosscourt and will not lob it back to the deep player. If the lobbing team does this planned switch, they had better have the Pro hustle over and cover the crosscourt or the point is lost. Right?

As I think on it more, I guess the sole alleged advantage of this planned switch is that it allows the lobbing team to get into a staggered formation more easily. The partner who is switching can get close to the net, and the Pro only has to get to the service line on the other side of the court. Correct?

I am still not persuaded that all this scrambling achieves anything, though. If the opponents play an offensive drive, they can take it crosscourt (and may be planning to hit that shot switch or no switch) and the Pro will be challenged trying to catch up to it. If the opponents play a defensive lob/shot, you really don't want either player hugging the net -- there is time to close the net for a put-away if it is a weak drive, and it is easier to reach a lob.


Yes.


We are in agreement


I guess our experience differs. On the rare occasions that I am at the baseline in a 1U/1B position, noone is hitting offensive lobs, since they are only "offensive" in terms of my partner, to me (in the ad court) they are a high, slow ball to my forehand. Offensive lobs are the exclusive realm of the much more frequent circumstance of the 2 Up formation. No, among my competition, lobs when in the 1U/1B position, are defensive, hence my advice to not approach off of them.



I don't disagree that a drive (what I called a standard drive) to the baseline player, is not a "gimme" poach for the netman. But the key is that 1) the netman knows where the ball is going, 2) can get a jump on the other player by "hiding" behind the other netman, 3) by not having his partner "switch", he doesn't have to hit a volley, he can let the ball through if it is too much for him.

However, if the baseline player (the Pro in your case) approaches, the opposing player isn't going to hit a standard drive, he is going to go for a passing shot. Much, much harder to hit from first volley position, let alone poach off of.



I don't run into many CC shots in this situation, unless there is a protracted DTL alley rally, with both netmen hanging out in the center of the court.

MNPlayer
11-12-2010, 09:22 AM
Yeah, If you have options, I don't get how a lob against a 1-up, 1-back team is a good idea at all. The guy in back should be able to cut over and kill it unless it is really, really good.

OrangePower
11-12-2010, 10:54 AM
I will be the first to admit that I am no Olympic caliber sprinter. Even I, in my current state of decline, can run from the baseline to the service line in the amount of time it takes a lob to leave my racket, bounce, and be struck by an opponent.

If I am so slow or off balance that I cannot manage that journey, how will I ever make the distance if we also require me to angle over to the other side of the court?

If you can make it to the service line after hitting the lob, great. Then we have no problem, and no switch is needed.

However, if you were scrambling and on the run when you hit a defensive lob, you might not be able to regain your balance enough to come in. In this case, your partner should switch at the net. This gives you as a team the most chance of either winning the point at the net (your partner), or else giving you (at the baseline) more time - if the opponents lob your partner crosscourt, the ball will take longer to get to you and give you more time to recover. And if they can hit a screaming crosscourt drive off your lob, then you and your partner are toast whatever you do.

Nothing is guaranteed to work 100% of the time, but this strategy gives you better percentages than the net player not switching on those occasions where the baseline player cannot make it to the net.

athiker
11-12-2010, 11:21 AM
While I'm not sure I've seen anyone do a full "switch" around here in this, the OP's, scenario, though I've certainly seen people stay back after hitting a lob, I can see the case for it in OrangePower's example above. So given this scenario wouldn't you say the Pro, who hit the defensive lob, should be the one to call "switch"?...as soon as he strikes the ball. It could hardly be called a "planned switch" but would be a "situational switch" in my eyes and someone needs to call it or you could have two people moving up to the same area. Since the Pro in this case is the one hitting the shot, so knows immediately if its defensive or offensive and also the one w/ the best view of the court dynamics, I would think he should've called "switch".

I have been caught in basically an "I" formation before. Where I've hit a defensive off balance lob from the ad side over the net guy, stayed back due to recovery time, the reply comes cross court, my partner takes it at the center of the court as he's shaded over a bit and I'm now standing behind him. The point is fast now b/c he just volleyed but didn't put it away, and we are both lined up at center court...him taking anything short and me long but leaving room on either side...not ideal.

To avoid this we genrerally try to play: If you move to poach, then you continue across the court and switch...never reverse your direction...the back person will flow to the other side. But in this case he didn't really make a big move to poach a ball headed to the ad side, its a cross court ball headed to the deuce side, his side...his ball, that he takes near the center of the court...so some confusion ensues...depending on where his volley is hit.

athiker
11-12-2010, 11:22 AM
duplicate post...sorry

bcart1991
11-12-2010, 11:57 AM
You guys think way too much. ;)

Totai
11-12-2010, 12:38 PM
Did the new pro or the old pro tell you that?

Cindysphinx
11-12-2010, 01:30 PM
Did the new pro or the old pro tell you that?

Ha!! Neither one.

This is a third pro. I kid you not.

I'm just kind of subbing in for this clinic, so I don't know these players or this pro well. Which is why I was quite rattled by the sight of my partners streaking full speed across the net when I lobbed the net player, just as I was following my lob to the service line, leaving us in a perfect I formation!

Cindysphinx
11-12-2010, 01:35 PM
However, if you were scrambling and on the run when you hit a defensive lob, you might not be able to regain your balance enough to come in. In this case, your partner should switch at the net. This gives you as a team the most chance of either winning the point at the net (your partner), or else giving you (at the baseline) more time - if the opponents lob your partner crosscourt, the ball will take longer to get to you and give you more time to recover. And if they can hit a screaming crosscourt drive off your lob, then you and your partner are toast whatever you do.



I dunno.

If I am scrambling and on the run and hitting a defensive lob (this is usually because I had to run down a lob from a net position), I don't want my partner at the net. I want my partner to see that I am in trouble and come back to the baseline and play some defense. 'Cause we're on defense if I'm throwing up a defensive lob. The last thing I want my partner to do is stay at the net and be a target.

I understood from the pro that this planned switch is for offensive lobs -- lobs that get over the other net player and are bounced so that they won't be smashed at all or will be smashed after the bounce from much deeper in the court.

larry10s
11-12-2010, 01:42 PM
trust your instincts go with the force cindy.
the back guy hits the lob over the net player
if he sees/feels its deep he should follow it to net.
if he feels its short (ie net person kissing the net, lob goes over net player but is going to land around the service line)
he should yell short to let you know to retreat as far as you can until you have to split step.

mtommer
11-12-2010, 01:43 PM
leaving us in a perfect I formation!

Classic play-action. I love it! :)

burosky
11-12-2010, 01:56 PM
I dunno.
I understood from the pro that this planned switch is for offensive lobs -- lobs that get over the other net player and are bounced so that they won't be smashed at all or will be smashed after the bounce from much deeper in the court.

All the more reason for the pro who hit the lob to close in to the net. If the lob is offensive and it does get over the net person's head and is effective, the net person's partner should not be able to hit any kind of offensive shot in response. As such, the most probable response will be a lob. If this is the case, it would much easier for the person closing in (moving forward) to hit a lob instead of the net person moving sideways.

You already mentioned you've asked the pro and you were relaying his response here. It would be interesting though if you could actually have a discussion with the pro similar to the way it is being discussed here. I am curious to know his rationale. Who knows? It might be an eye opener.

Cindysphinx
11-12-2010, 02:03 PM
All the more reason for the pro who hit the lob to close in to the net. If the lob is offensive and it does get over the net person's head and is effective, the net person's partner should not be able to hit any kind of offensive shot in response. As such, the most probable response will be a lob. If this is the case, it would much easier for the person closing in (moving forward) to hit a lob instead of the net person moving sideways.

You already mentioned you've asked the pro and you were relaying his response here. It would be interesting though if you could actually have a discussion with the pro similar to the way it is being discussed here. I am curious to know his rationale. Who knows? It might be an eye opener.

I will see him on Thursday and will probe further. Stay tuned. . . .

Honestly, I have not seen pro doubles players handle offensive lobs in this fashion, so I just don't know where it is coming from.

The closest thing I can imagine is the situation when you are playing Australian. Say partner is serving from the deuce court, and I line up Aussie. Partner serves and then scurries over to the ad court. Baseline opponent returns straight ahead, to my partner. They can rally all day long, and it is very difficult for me to poach. If I leave early enough to reach a groundstroke near the doubles alley, the opponent can easily burn us crosscourt. Not to mention how little court there is for me to hit into if I do poach unless I am to hit behind myself, which is tough to do well.

So yeah, I'll ask him.

burosky
11-12-2010, 02:24 PM
I will see him on Thursday and will probe further. Stay tuned. . . .

.....Not to mention how little court there is for me to hit into if I do poach unless I am to hit behind myself, which is tough to do well.

So yeah, I'll ask him.

If you poach, you don't really want to hit behind yourself. Aside from it being a tough shot, unless you are able to put it away, it will take both you and your partner out of position if your opponent can get to it.

Please do keep us posted.

Cindysphinx
02-17-2011, 01:42 PM
You already mentioned you've asked the pro and you were relaying his response here. It would be interesting though if you could actually have a discussion with the pro similar to the way it is being discussed here. I am curious to know his rationale. Who knows? It might be an eye opener.

Bump!!

I subbed in for this clinic again, and this time I played close attention to *why* the pro proposes that we do this switching thing and discussed it with him.

To refresh:

The drill started in standard 1-up, 1-back formation with four players. From the ad court, the pro fed a very deep crosscourt ball to the opposing baseline player, also in ad court.

The baseline player was supposed to lob DTL. So far, so good.

This is where my view/experience diverges from what the pro was recommending.

My view: The baseline player who hit the lob should run from the baseline straight forward to the service line or closer (back half of service box). Her partner who was at net should remain at net in first volley position. You essentially have two players near the service line. If it appears the opponents will hit a drive, they split step and close and play a volley. If it appears the opponents will hit a lob, they hit their overheads.

The pro's view: The partner of the baseline player who lobbed should recognize that the lob is a good one and will clear the opposing net player. She should then cross at the net, taking an aggressive position close to net (front half of service box), looking to pick off the next ball. The player who played the lob should recognize this switch. She should either cross at the baseline and stay back, or she should cross and go to the service line in the deuce court.

I asked the pro what advantage there is in doing it his way. He said that the player who struck the lob has a lot of ground to cover to follow the lob to net if she goes straight ahead because her partner does not switch. He said she has less ground to cover if she stays at the baseline and crosses, or if she crosses and goes to the service line. He also said that the switching is a good idea because it is confusing, kind of like playing Australian. He also said that doing the switch allows both partners to "get in the game" and stay active. He also said that the planned switch is correct doubles because you want your net player mirroring the ball (keeping the ball in front of her).

I gave it a go to see what would happen when I was the net player with my partner lobbing. There were a couple of issues.

First, the player who strikes a lob knows whether she nailed it or not. If I lob, I know instantly whether it will clear the net person, so I can start running forward immediately. When I was the net player looking to do a switch, it was a bit more tricky to size up my partner's lob. I found myself switching late as it took time to evaluate my partner's lob.

Second, my partner had some trouble making the distance. She was backed into her BH corner to hit this lob. When I switched, she had to get all the way to the opposite service line, after she realized I was in fact going to switch. This problem is compounded by the fact that it took me some time to decide the lob was good enough for a switch. She did not make the distance in time and was passed with a crosscourt drive.

Third, I think this planned switch is vulnerable to a baseline opponent who volleys the lob out of the air rather than bouncing it. That player's best shot is a crosscourt approach volley, deep, following it to net. The switch will leave the switching team in an ill-timed I-formation, the baseliner may not make the distance, and you are giving your opponents an approach volley over the lower part of the net with court geometry favoring them.

Anyway, Burosky, now you have your answer!!

Cindysphinx
02-17-2011, 01:50 PM
Wait. There was one more thing that happened.

When I am coming from baseline to net, I tend to say, "I'm in." I do this because in the world of 3.0-3.5 tennis, many people do not transition to net. Saying "I'm in" communicates to my partner that I am not at the baseline backing her up and lets her know where I am on the court so she needn't look.

During this drill, I hit my DTL lob over the net player and started sprinting forward, saying "I'm in." As I get to the service line, my partner is dashing toward me, doing this switch. Near collision.

My partner and I discussed it, and I told her that "I'm in" meant . . . . well, I've come in. She said that if I don't want her to switch, I should say, "I'm in, stay."

skiracer55
02-17-2011, 01:58 PM
Bump!!

I subbed in for this clinic again, and this time I played close attention to *why* the pro proposes that we do this switching thing and discussed it with him.

To refresh:

The drill started in standard 1-up, 1-back formation with four players. From the ad court, the pro fed a very deep crosscourt ball to the opposing baseline player, also in ad court.

The baseline player was supposed to lob DTL. So far, so good.

This is where my view/experience diverges from what the pro was recommending.

My view: The baseline player who hit the lob should run from the baseline straight forward to the service line or closer (back half of service box). Her partner who was at net should remain at net in first volley position. You essentially have two players near the service line. If it appears the opponents will hit a drive, they split step and close and play a volley. If it appears the opponents will hit a lob, they hit their overheads.

The pro's view: The partner of the baseline player who lobbed should recognize that the lob is a good one and will clear the opposing net player. She should then cross at the net, taking an aggressive position close to net (front half of service box), looking to pick off the next ball. The player who played the lob should recognize this switch. She should either cross at the baseline and stay back, or she should cross and go to the service line in the deuce court.

I asked the pro what advantage there is in doing it his way. He said that the player who struck the lob has a lot of ground to cover to follow the lob to net if she goes straight ahead because her partner does not switch. He said she has less ground to cover if she stays at the baseline and crosses, or if she crosses and goes to the service line. He also said that the switching is a good idea because it is confusing, kind of like playing Australian. He also said that doing the switch allows both partners to "get in the game" and stay active. He also said that the planned switch is correct doubles because you want your net player mirroring the ball (keeping the ball in front of her).

I gave it a go to see what would happen when I was the net player with my partner lobbing. There were a couple of issues.

First, the player who strikes a lob knows whether she nailed it or not. If I lob, I know instantly whether it will clear the net person, so I can start running forward immediately. When I was the net player looking to do a switch, it was a bit more tricky to size up my partner's lob. I found myself switching late as it took time to evaluate my partner's lob.

Second, my partner had some trouble making the distance. She was backed into her BH corner to hit this lob. When I switched, she had to get all the way to the opposite service line, after she realized I was in fact going to switch. This problem is compounded by the fact that it took me some time to decide the lob was good enough for a switch. She did not make the distance in time and was passed with a crosscourt drive.

Third, I think this planned switch is vulnerable to a baseline opponent who volleys the lob out of the air rather than bouncing it. That player's best shot is a crosscourt approach volley, deep, following it to net. The switch will leave the switching team in an ill-timed I-formation, the baseliner may not make the distance, and you are giving your opponents an approach volley over the lower part of the net with court geometry favoring them.

Anyway, Burosky, now you have your answer!!

...sounds reasonable to me. However, the thing I think you have to be careful of is what I call "cookie cutter tennis", and I see you heading in this direction every once in a while. IMHO, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to take a position that says that in situation x, response y is always the correct response. There's always a ton of "it depends" where the players involved may not, for example, have the skills or physical capabilities to come up with response y.

I'm not sure exactly how this played out, but in the follow-up clinic, it *sounds* like you gave it a go but it wasn't everything you hoped for. In that case, if I were you, I'd have said something like "Thanks, Joe (or Joanne, or whatever), it sounded good when you talked through it, but for whatever reason, it ain't happening for me, so I think I'll go back to what I was doing. Next slide, please..."

GPB
02-17-2011, 02:02 PM
My partner and I discussed it, and I told her that "I'm in" meant . . . . well, I've come in. She said that if I don't want her to switch, I should say, "I'm in, stay."

That's stupid. If you're "in," then your partner shouldn't be switching to your side.

Is there any scenario where you just came to the net, and you want your partner to cut over to your side (putting you both in the same position)? Maybe if a drop shot is hit in front of you and your partner doesn't think you'll get there in time.

Maybe.

Tell her to stick to her own side when you come in! I'm curious... how did your pro handle your situation?

spot
02-17-2011, 02:03 PM
Cindy- think of it as the net person having a golden opportunity to poach rather than a "planned switch" and it will make more sense. When you are in that situation the opposing back player virutally always hits it back up the line. Its just one of those times when you always want to be thinking about poaching.

Cindysphinx
02-17-2011, 02:28 PM
That's stupid. If you're "in," then your partner shouldn't be switching to your side.

Is there any scenario where you just came to the net, and you want your partner to cut over to your side (putting you both in the same position)? Maybe if a drop shot is hit in front of you and your partner doesn't think you'll get there in time.

Maybe.

Tell her to stick to her own side when you come in! I'm curious... how did your pro handle your situation?

He fed the next ball.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all about a good poach. But there is an element of surprise to a good poach. If you cross at net well before the ball is struck, *I'm not going to hit the ball to you because I can see you standing there.* I'm going to lob or drive it crosscourt because my "keep it away from the net player" alarm bells are clanging.

fruitytennis1
02-17-2011, 02:45 PM
Dumb play where more things can go wrong than a situation where the baseline player just approaches the net.
Cindy you do tend to overthink things...

burosky
02-17-2011, 03:02 PM
...sounds reasonable to me. However, the thing I think you have to be careful of is what I call "cookie cutter tennis", and I see you heading in this direction every once in a while. IMHO, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to take a position that says that in situation x, response y is always the correct response. There's always a ton of "it depends" where the players involved may not, for example, have the skills or physical capabilities to come up with response y.

I'm not sure exactly how this played out, but in the follow-up clinic, it *sounds* like you gave it a go but it wasn't everything you hoped for. In that case, if I were you, I'd have said something like "Thanks, Joe (or Joanne, or whatever), it sounded good when you talked through it, but for whatever reason, it ain't happening for me, so I think I'll go back to what I was doing. Next slide, please..."

I'm with Skiracer on this one. When talking tactics and strategies there will always be a ton of "it depends". This is not like chess where there are certain counters to certain moves. In tennis there a lot of factors that may make a certain tactic or strategy ineffective. There is the skill level of the player, the physical ability, ability to hit the required shot, etc.... It is even possible for the same tactic or strategy to fail one time and be successful the next time in the same match. It just all depends on the situation.

Cindysphinx
02-17-2011, 03:45 PM
Agreed. The more shots/skills/tactics/tools you have, the more ways you can implement "it depends."

Still . . . this is an instructional clinic. People are there to learn something. That "something" is not stroke mechanics -- that "something" is strategy/positioning/shot selection.

skiracer55
02-17-2011, 04:26 PM
Agreed. The more shots/skills/tactics/tools you have, the more ways you can implement "it depends."

Still . . . this is an instructional clinic. People are there to learn something. That "something" is not stroke mechanics -- that "something" is strategy/positioning/shot selection.

...all Burosky and I are saying is that when somebody presents you with a New Thang, you're the customer, and it's always a try and buy situation. Your first reaction should always be..."Huh...who woulda thunk it? Guess I'll give it a rip...". But after a careful test drive, if it isn't for you, try something else and don't look back...

Off The Wall
02-17-2011, 07:57 PM
From her posts, I think the OP has demonstrated a sound understanding of doubles. In this case, I think her initial reaction is the most useful...just come in without switching.

Really, how many people can't make it to the service line during a lob/bounce/hit lob? Besides, it's a longer run for the lobber to go to net on the other side. If she can't make it straight, how could she ever make it at a longer angle. That, and if the returner strokes one CC, the lobber will have to chase the ball off the court.

Furthermore, if the planned switch happens and the lobbee hits a lob over the netperson while the lobber is running for the other net position, both players have to perform a 180 to track it down.

Better to just go straight in.

smucker007
02-17-2011, 08:35 PM
Cindy, I don't know about the switching stuff...I agree with you about its confusing as heck. When I play doubles, I lob a lot over the head of the net person. I almost always run up after the lob. It forces me to move forward and be ready for the next shot. If they drive the ball, my partner and I are ready for it (partner should cover the middle since I'm running up). If they lob the ball, since I'm coming up, I can see the lob and change direction and take the lob as an overhead or if it is really deep, I have time to run back and take it after the bounce. If my partner "switches" or in this case Poaches, then I can see him/her poaching and run to the other side while moving forward to cover the court. But usually when this happens, I can tell where they are hitting by then and if my partner can get the ball or not.

There are a lot of IFs in tennis..which makes it such a dynamic game. Do what you and your partner are comfortable with.

olliess
02-17-2011, 10:39 PM
Let me ask: the lob DTL from the ad court to the opposing deuce court is covered by the ad player (switching) who is going to hit: what? A high forehand? Overhead? Barely digging out a high-bouncing topspinny lob?

If the opposing player has time to set up for a forehand, I'm not sure I would want to take it as a half volley while I'm closing to the service line. I can see how my partner (who is already at net) would be in a better position to cut off the expected DTL return (although then we could be screwed if the opponent reads this and hits the angled crosscourt shot).

It seems like the correct decision would really depend on the position and time for the shot.

larry10s
02-18-2011, 04:50 AM
sorry i didnt read the whole thread but as a poach its described as "The switch trick play"in operation doubles.
as a planned early move it takes the poach away because the back player will (or should) not be hitting to the net player on purpose
http://web.archive.org/web/20071023035316/www.operationdoubles.com/switch_trick_play.htm

this post bumped
personally i come to the service line if i lob over the net player
when i play with someone that doesnt come in i look for the "switch trick play"

bukaeast
02-18-2011, 08:05 AM
So you are subbing in this clinic, not really a principle participant, just got to come in a few times. OK, can't really drive it, but take this for a new weapon for your quiver. When you get to where it might be useful as a new stratagy with a partnet that can pull it iff with you, ask to implement it.

Sounds like a take off on the other trick play or using I or Australian formations. Something higher level or different.